The unrealistic quest to ban fossil fuels

Business Finance News:
Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) has categorically ruled out demands by regulators and environmentalists to cut back the use of fossil fuels. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the company has described such requests as unfeasible.

According to Ken Golden, advisor of the energy giant: “They can sit around in the dark and talk about how it worked out.” Provided that fossil fuels, mainly oil, gas and coal are to account for 80% of the global energy in the future, Exxon states that that it cannot even comprehend banning fossil fuels from its portfolio.
Others are pushing back against the push to ban fossil fuels:
Generally, TWTW does not comment on political issues. However, the 2016 Democratic Party Platform deserves particular mention. Westernized urban and suburban civilization requires reliable electricity to run its communication systems, medical facilities, sewer
and water purification systems, refrigeration, food storage, subways, elevators, heating, cooling air handling systems, neighborhood traffic lights, etc. Without reliable electricity, modern life becomes chaotic.

Other than fossil fuels, the only proven sources of reliable electricity are nuclear and hydro. Hydroelectric power is dependent on weather (the EIA considers it as such) and is regional. Nuclear is strongly opposed by many environmental groups, as seen by the letter by Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, to the Wall Street Journal and repeated in the July 2 TWTW. There are no other reliable, affordable sources proven at this time. Countries such as the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Greece are littered with projects that promised reliable, affordable electricity, but failed to deliver. Any possible learning curve is largely exhausted. Industrial-scale
solar may have promise, but is yet to be proven and may work only in a small area of the US.

For over one hundred years, utilities have been searching for ways to store electricity, generated when it is not needed for when it is needed. The only storage technology existing on a large scale is pumped-hydro storage. This system has a cycle cost of about 25% or more, meaning that only 75% or less of the electricity put into the system can be retrieved. As seen on El Hierro Island in the Canary Islands, the storage needs may be greatly underestimated, as well as the costs. Large, commercial scale batteries offer promise, but have yet to be proven. Construction on a 100 megawatt battery (very small by standards needed) west of Los Angles, is planned, but not yet
underway, much less proven or shown to be cost-effective.

This is not to say that such technologies cannot be developed, similar to the development of the technology to extract oil and natural gas from dense shale – which are making the US largely fossil fuel independent of the petrostates. But there are no demonstrations that technologies in solar and wind along with electricity storage are reliable and affordable.

In spite of these experiences, the 2016 Democratic Party Platform calls for the effective abandonment of fossil fuels for transportation and electricity generation. The naivety is staggering. It states: “The Democrats are of the mind that human-caused climate change is one of the major problems facing the country/world today, describing it as ‘an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time.’”
There is much more.

This is consistent with arguments I have made in the past about the  failure to find alternative sources of energy that can provide adequate quantities at reasonable prices.  The current fantasy of the Democrats and Big Green would be a literal costly nightmare for most of the population.


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